Bird Decline

Latest Sources
August 2016

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Newest Additional Reading

  1. Managing Open Space Fields & Meadows for Grassland Birds, Mass Audubon
  2. Managing Small Grasslands for Grassland Birds, Mass Audubon
  3. Working Forests at Work for Birds, American Bird Conservancy

Bird Decline


Birds are the warning lights that tell us our natural systems are stressed out. Seen as ‘indicator species’ for the health of American natural landscapes are declining at alarming rates.

The precipitous loss of bird populations in the Western Maine Mountains includes three major causes. First, there has been a coincidental drop in insect life. No one completely understands how or why this has happened. But we no longer have to clean our windshields of insects in the summer as we once did.

This has led to a loss of birds that are dependent on insects for their subsistence. We have articles in this section which discuss this matter.

The second reason is the increased use of pesticides and herbicides. These are also killing birds. In the section on Pesticides and Herbicides, there are articles which describe this in detail and discuss the consequences.

The third reason is loss of habitat. Loss of habitat comes from many sources, but in the mountains of Maine it stems from overharvesting of forest so that there is only a minimal amount of late successional forest available for nesting. There is also the threat of wind power, which we have covered below.

Finally, we have included some articles on management guidelines for birds. But also see the sections on Threatened Species and Maine Endangered Species and Habitats.


1) Shocking decline seen in birds that eat insects in flight, CT Audubon
2) State of the Birds 2014, multi-organization collaboration – ABC, Cornell Lab, Audubon, USFS, USGS, TNC, etc.
3) State of the Birds 2014 Press Release/Synopsis, multi-org collaboration.
4) Bugged Out? Exploring the Decline of Aerial Insectivores, Bird Conservation p. 21.
5) Predicted Loss of Current Range of Birds in Maine Due to Climate Change by 2080, list, Audubon.
6) North American Breeding Bird Survey Chart: Changes in 4 Species Sightings Over Time, Bird Conservation.
7) Winged Warnings: Birds in Trouble From Pole to Pole, Environmental Health News.
8) Birds that migrate from UK to Africa in winter declining drastically.
9) Neonics and Bird Declines,
10) Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Birds, ABC report.
11) ABC Opposes Wind Energy Proposals that Threaten Birds, from Bird Calls p. 10.
12) Top Five Myths About Wind Power and Birds, from Bird Conservation p. 22.
13) Seeing the Forest for the Birds: Engaging Landowners in Conservation, Maine Audubon.
14) More Protection Needed for Old-Growth Forests, from Bird Calls p. 6.
15) Management Guidelines for Thrushes: Summary for the East/Midwest Forest Region, Cornell Lab of Ornithology Guide to Improving Habitat for Thrushes.